August 10 marked one year since The Blue Room raised the bar on music venues in Statesboro. Georgia Southern students have long bemoaned the lack of decent music venues in Statesboro. Mostly dive bars or restaurants, there has been a dearth of decent spots to get a drink and see a really good concert with the kind of atmosphere that 20-somethings have been craving.
In recent years, venue after venue has closed for one reason and another. Local alcohol ordinances are often the cause cited as the cause, but the truth is also as likely that poor management, lax adherence to state alcohol regulations, and fiscal irresponsibility have led to many of the closures. Whatever the reasons for the failure of other venues, the owners of The Blue Room have figured out the magic formula to success in Statesboro.
When I spoke with co-owner William Bridwell, it wasn’t hard to see what a key component of their success is: passion. This is much more than just a business venture for Bridwell. He, Al Chapman and Kaleo Lyles each bring different knowledge and skills to the table, but passion for bringing great music and putting on fantastic shows here in this market sets them above the rest.
Chapman has always been a friend to local and regional artists bringing in the most popular area talent to Gnat’s Landing. With his education in recording and music production, he brings the knowledge of how to put on a great show together with what he knows about how to run a successful bar in Statesboro. Bridwell has spent the last several years building Airbound Entertainment, an artist management and event planning company. The relationships he built with artists, as well as his knowledge of the industry has given him an inside look at what makes a venue great for the artists, as well as the patrons. Kaleo Lyles brings a youthful energy, and the same passion as well as extensive management experience to the table. The three invested $240,000 in renovations to open The Blue Room, turning the former dive bar into an excellent space for indoor or outdoor concerts and events. This past year, another $75,000 in upgrades and renovations were made to keep up with the tremendous numbers they’ve had in attendance.
Although the space is generally hopping with live music and DJs on Thursday through Saturday nights, Tourney Tuesdays are also becoming a big draw.
“It’s not just concerts,” Bridwell added. ”We also want to give back.”
Most recently, The Blue Room was the setting for a fundraiser for Safe Haven’s Dancing With the Statesboro Stars event. That’s only one, however, of the many events in the last year that have been held there. In an effort to keep their patrons safe after events, they’ve even contracted with Party Elite to offer three shuttles from the venue that each make four stops covering 12 different apartment complexes and neighborhoods — more evidence that this is not just about the bottom line. The success of The Blue Room is primarily due to the owners being genuinely decent people who care about their town and want to make it a home for GREAT music.
So this weekend, when you’re trying to find a great spot for live music, you can be sure you’ll find not just a great band, but a great show at The Blue Room. To find out what’s coming up, follow them on Facebook or Instagram. If you’re in the mood to stalk a bit before you head over, there’s almost always a hot spot on Snapchat at 1830 Chandler Road because it’s probably the hottest spot in the Boro.